Coastal Elites

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Coastal Elites TV Poster Image
Dismal Zoom satirical dramedy features politics, profanity.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Coastal Elites offers various perspectives around how to persevere through difficult times.

Positive Role Models

Coastal Elites features a limited viewpoint in its opinions (those of the "liberal elites.") However, one segment -- Dan Levy's "Supergay" -- does talk through the importance of queer representation in entertainment.


No violence is shown on Coastal Elites. Threats are jokingly made ("gouge out your eyes") and an incident is described where a woman steals a man's hat.


Sex is discussed bluntly, but not shown.


Profanity is used frequently and includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Jokes are made about Judiasm and Catholicism.


Brand names are mentioned frequently. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character drinks a glass of wine throughout one of the monologues. Smoking and drug use are not seen or discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Coastal Elites is a satirical TV movie made to address current events in 2020. Initially intended to be performed live on stage in New York but moved to virtual distribution due to COVID-19, topics include President Trump and his staff; the 2020 presidential election; the pandemic; protests, and the murders of Black Americans by the police. Five New York or Los Angeles-based characters take turns discussing how they've been coping with the remarkable events of 2020. Characters use profanity frequently, including "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Sex is sometimes discussed bluntly, and jokes are made about Judaism and Catholicism. The script is a liberal satire, but addresses stereotypes on both sides of the political spectrum.

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What's the story?

COASTAL ELITES checks in on five different characters through the early months of 2020. Miriam (Bette Midler) gets interrogated by the police after an altercation with a man in a MAGA hat. Actor Mark (Dan Levy) tells his therapist about auditioning for a superhero movie as an openly gay man. Callie (Issa Rae) confides in a friend about an interaction with Ivanka Trump. Clarissa (Sarah Paulson) leads a meditation inspired by a visit with her Republican family. Sharynn (Kaitlyn Dever) reveals her experiences as a nurse in a New York ICU during the first coronavirus spike in March of 2020.

Is it any good?

The need to vent is absolutely understandable, especially at a time when most of the country is coping with anxiety about the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. The five monologues in Coastal Elites each feel like the type of venting on social media or in family group texts, but without nearly as much emotional depth. The film is clearly a satirical attempt to address the isolation and anger many have felt these past months. But it goes about it by building stereotypical characters and having them rail against even more stereotypical straw men. Nothing feels drawn from real life; each monologue is a stitched-together series of surface-level reactions to news headlines. The writing plays out wish-fulfillment scenarios, like running away with a bully's MAGA hat or someone's lifelong Republican father turning liberal, but if offers superficial suggestions for enduring the actual anxiety and trauma it imagines its audience is going through. Instead, Coastal Elites was seemingly created to be cheered along with, rather than offering a catharsis that drama of this magnitude demands.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about 2020. How has 2020 impacted each of the characters? How are they coping with the events of the year? How do current events inform each of the monologues?

  • What issues are important to each of the characters? How are they advocating for the things that are important to them? Where are they succeeding and failing?

  • What makes something satirical? What other satirical material are you familiar with? Does Coastal Elites achieve its intended effect?

TV details

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